HomeBuying GuidesWirecutter Digital Picture Frame – Know This Before Buying!

Wirecutter Digital Picture Frame – Know This Before Buying!


Are Wirecutter digital picture frame reviews any good?

Wirecutter digital picture frame reviews usually go quite in-depth, something that Wirecutter prides itself on. That being said, we don’t think they hit the nail on the head with their top 3 digital photo frames tier list.

While the comparison was comprehensive, many features were sidelined, with features like display resolution and slideshow transitions being given priority over remote configuration support, photo imports from social media, cloud storage, and upfront cost.

Wirecutter recommends the Aura digital picture frame to be the best choice on the market. There’s no denying that Aura’s frames are beautiful and their high-resolution displays are attractive. With that said, there are also many negative features. For instance, Aura digital frames don’t work without Wi-Fi, they don’t have internal storage, no USB/SD card support, no video and audio support, no web albums, no remote configuration, and more.

Additionally, even with Aura’s high-resolution display, its 16:9 aspect ratio leaves most photos cropped, zoomed, or surrounded by black pillar bars. Slideshows are aesthetic, but they offer limited customizations. You can’t easily control the play order & frequency in which photos show, you can’t include videos in slideshows, you can’t remotely control or manage slideshows, and the list goes on.

To add to all of this, the Aura digital frame range is arguably the most expensive on the market. On a positive note, Aura doesn’t charge any recurring monthly fees like Nixplay and Skylight charge. On the other hand, they don’t offer anywhere the robust feature set of Pix-Star’s frames, while simultaneously charging a far higher price.

For grandparents and families, Aura’s frames are limited – especially when compared to the family and elderly-friendly features of competing frames like the Pix-Star. Pix-Star lets you send up to 250 photos to any of your Pix-Star frames at the same time. You can remotely control and manage up to 25 Pix-Star frames from one user account, adjust their settings, start and change slideshows, manage local and cloud storage, and more.

Pix-Star also offers extensive offline functionality, automatically saving incoming photos to the frame’s internal storage – and backing them up to the cloud. Pix-Star’s web albums feature lets you import photo albums from external sources like social media to any of your Pix-Star frames.

While the interface and navigation feel a little old school with Pix-Star’s frames, they’re one of the only high-end frames that cater to both families and elderly users. When you consider all of Pix-Star’s features, it’s hard to just ignore them and focus on display resolution. From normal viewing distances, you aren’t likely going to notice a difference in the display resolution for most premium digital frames – so it’s probably not something worth paying a lot extra for.

Does Wirecutter recommend the Pix-Star digital picture frame?

Wirecutter does recommend the Pix-Star digital picture frame as a suggested alternative to their top pick. Their only cautions are with regards to Pix-Star’s retro interface and navigation, display resolution, and frame design.

Pix-Star’s frames are elderly and family-friendly, which is why they’ve opted for the simpler interface. By comparison, very few other top digital picture frames cater to elderly users, neither in their features nor their interface. Pix-Star includes loads of features that make sharing pictures with your grandparents simple, including Pix-Star’s web albums and extensive remote configuration support.

In terms of the display resolution, Pix-Star’s frames use a 1024×768 display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is quite a common resolution among the best digital frames and still offers clear pictures with no pixelation. Most users don’t view their frame from the distance they’d view their smartphone. Most of the time you’ll at least be a couple of feet away. From these viewing distances, a 1024×768 display and a higher resolution display will look almost identical.

The aspect ratio is important – arguably more important than the resolution at distance. We don’t recommend 16:9 aspect ratios as most smartphones capture pictures in 4:3 natively and by default. If you send 4:3 photos to a 16:9 display, the sides of the image fill with black pillar bars. Alternatively, the image is zoomed, cropped – or even worse – distorted.

When we look at Pix-Star’s negative features from a more real-world perspective, we see that they’re not nearly as bad as Wirecutter paints them out to be. Combining this with Pix-Star’s advanced feature set, elderly-friendly design and use, and versatile slideshow, they’re easily one of the best digital frames on the market in 2022 and beyond!

What is the best Wirecutter digital picture frame?

The best digital picture frame that Wirecutter recommends is the Aura frame. There are a couple of options that Wirecutter recommend from Aura, with the Aura Mason being their main pick.

Aura’s digital picture frames are premium, but we don’t think they’re the best. Several issues bring down the overall value for money, especially when compared with competing frames like Pix-Star, Nixplay, Dragon Touch, and more.

Aura’s frames don’t offer video and audio support, don’t work without Wi-Fi, can’t import photos from social media or photo-sharing sites, don’t offer remote configuration, and more. Additionally, the Aura frame uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning most photos taken on smartphones have to be edited, or they’ll be boxed in by black bars or zoomed/cropped.

While the Aura digital picture frame isn’t bad, there are many other frames with excellent features and great value for money. Wirecutter tends to place a lot of focus on features that aren’t very impactful in the real-world, day-to-day use of the frame – particularly for families and elderly users.

Should I buy a digital picture frame from Wirecutter or Amazon?

Wirecutter does not sell digital picture frames. Instead, Wirecutter offers digital photo frame reviews. In many cases, Wirecutter will provide affiliate links to either the frame’s Amazon page and/or the brand’s shop or website.

Amazon is a great place to shop for a digital picture frame as you can choose from dozens of competing premium frames. You can compare features, read through hundreds of FAQs, and read verified user ratings/reviews across all possible ratings.

This makes it far more likely that you’ll find a frame that best suits your home, family, and unique needs – rather than getting a digital picture frame that Wirecutter thinks is best for you!

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